Richard­son Mar­itime Mu­seum to cel­e­brate 25 years

Dorchester Star - - REGIONAL -

CAM­BRIDGE — The Richard­son Mar­itime Mu­seum will cel­e­brate its 25th an­niver­sary Satur­day, Sept. 23, at Three Sixty at the River’s Edge.

“This is an oc­ca­sion to cel­e­brate our mar­itime his­tory and 25 years of ad­vanc­ing a crit­i­cally im­por­tant cul­tural and ed­u­ca­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion” said Martin Hardy, Chair­man of the Board of Direc­tors.

Join in a cel­e­bra­tory evening as the Richard­son Mar­itime Mu­seum ac­knowl­edges the im­mea­sur­able con­tri­bu­tions of many ded­i­cated peo­ple in the suc­cess­ful growth of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Sail-a-bra­tion will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Satur­day, Sept. 23, at Three Sixty at the River’s Edge in Cam­bridge. The evening will in­clude silent and live auc­tions and entertainment by Three Penny Opera. Hors d’oeu­vres and cash bar will be avail­able. Tick­ets are $65 per per­son. For more in­for­ma­tion, contact Melissa Thomas at 410-221-1871.

In 1992, a group of friends gath­ered to dis­cuss de­vel­op­ing a mu­seum to honor Cap­tain Jim Richard­son who was ded­i­cated to the tra­di­tional wooden boat­build­ing skills and to passing on those skills to new gen­er­a­tions of boat wrights.

Richard­son never claimed to be a “Cap­tain,” but it is the re­spect­ful way many peo­ple re­ferred to him, as well as, “Mr. Jim.” His com­mit­ment in­spired the founders of the mu­seum to es­tab­lish an or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated not just to pre­serv­ing his mem­ory, but to con­tin­u­ing his ef­forts at keeping the art of wooden boat­build­ing alive.

In pur­su­ing th­ese ef­forts and in re­search­ing the his­tory of boat build­ing in Dorch­ester County and the Eastern Shore, it be­came in­creas­ingly clear that the area has had far-reach­ing in­flu­ence on the de­sign of ships and on Ch­e­sa­peake Bay mar­itime his­tory.

The Richard­son Mar­itime Mu­seum is presently op­er­at­ing from two lo­ca­tions in Cam­bridge. The mu­seum build­ing at 401 High Street con­tains a vast ar­ray of items that il­lus­trate the depth of the mar­itime her­itage of Dorch­ester County and rec­og­nizes Cap­tain Jim and other lo­cal boat builders.

In 2002, the Mary­land Av­enue water­front site was ac­quired, and the Ruark Boat­works was es­tab­lished as a fa­cil­ity to re­pair and build wooden boats al­low­ing the skills to be passed on to cur­rent and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. This ex­pan­sion to a water­front site so­lid­i­fied the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s com­mit­ment to the de­vel­op­ment of a mar­itime her­itage cen­ter.

The cur­rent ef­fort is to bring all op­er­a­tions to the Mary­land Av­enue site with the ex­ist­ing brick build­ing be­ing re­pur­posed to func­tion as a mu­seum which will house the col­lec­tion from 401 High Street and the ar­ti­facts and ar­chives ac­quired from the Bran­nock Mar­itime Mu­seum.

As the Ruark Boat­works con­tin­ues the ac­tiv­ity of boat re­pairs and boat build­ing projects, ad­di­tional fund­ing is be­ing se­cured to con­duct a lim­ited se­ries of cour­ses to pre­pare in­di­vid­u­als for en­try level em­ploy­ment in the marine trades.

The marine in­dus­try cur­rently has dif­fi­culty em­ploy­ing skilled tech­ni­cians state wide, and is in need of lo­cat­ing trained peo­ple. Fu­ture plans are to de­velop a Marine Trade School to pro­mote both his­toric and tra­di­tional craft indige­nous to the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, as well as con­tem­po­rary con­struc­tion and re­pair of boats and plea­sure craft.

Its cour­ses will in­clude hull and shape de­vel­op­ment with com­pos­ites; ma­chiner y, equip­ment, elec­tri­cal, elec­tron­ics, waste and propul­sion sys­tems. The school will be a cer­ti­fied fa­cil­ity that will pro­vide a place­ment ser­vice for its grad­u­ates.

“At the 25-year mark, much has been ac­com­plished with much more on the hori­zon,” Hardy said.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Richard­son Mar­itime Mu­seum cel­e­brates 25 years Satur­day, Sept. 23.

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